Princeton stops Maryland for women's lacrosse title

May 23, 1994|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Sun Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- For a year, the Maryland women's lacrosse team waited for a chance to avenge a one-goal upset loss to Princeton at Byrd Stadium in last year's national semifinals.

However, the Tigers also had a few demons to exorcise yesterday, and they did so, again at Maryland's expense, beating the top-ranked and previously undefeated Terps, 10-7, to win the national championship at Byrd Stadium before 3,522.

As the Princeton players and coach Chris Sailer made their way into the post-game news conference, they carried with them the championship trophy, which eluded them in last year's final, an 8-6 overtime loss to Virginia.

"We're not letting this [trophy] out of our sight," said Sailer.

The Terps (12-1), who had beaten Princeton 12-10 two weeks ago, crushed fourth-ranked Loyola, 19-4, in Saturday's semifinal. They appeared to have the championship firmly in their sights, only to have it snatched away by a tenacious and disciplined Princeton team.

"We knew all season that it would be a tough game if it came down to Princeton," said Maryland coach Cindy Timchal. "We knew the memory of last year would be incentive to carry them through this year."

The Tigers (16-1) brought home Princeton's first NCAA championship in any women's sport and their first win in four semifinal tries, by winning two games for the price of one.

First, they slowed the vaunted Maryland transition game, limiting the Terps to one second-half goal, and keeping all-time Maryland scoring leader Betsy Elder scoreless on five shots.

"We knew we'd have to slow things down to win and we did," said Sailer. "We made adjustments to slow their transition game off the draw controls."

Princeton did a superb job in the final 18 minutes of playing keep-away, with two possessions of three minutes each in that sequence. The Tigers also guarded the ball zealously, not allowing Maryland to create turnovers and offensive opportunities.

"In the first game [this season] we were able to come up with some key turnovers and we were not so fortunate to come up with those turnovers today," said Timchal.

On defense, the Tigers relied on the steady goaltending of sophomore Erin O'Neil, who turned back 19 Maryland shots, stopping Elder and center Kelly Amonte at critical times in the second half at point-blank range.

"[O'Neil] came up time and again with huge, huge plays," said Sailer. "That's been the difference in the last two years that we've come to the Final Four and the two years before when we came to the Final Four: what we had in the cages."

Princeton also used the Terps' inexperience at playing in close games against them.

"We had never been tied before at half, so we were a little bit worried, but you're playing for the national championship, so you have to do what you have to do," said Elder, a Severna Park grad.

But the Terps didn't pull it off, thanks to the efforts of two Princeton players with local ties.

Freshman midfielder Casey Coleman (Sidwell Friends), who grew up watching Maryland football games at Byrd Stadium, came off the bench to score two goals, one with 21:02 left to give Princeton the lead for good and another with 5:50 remaining to seal the win.

And senior midfielder Jenny Bristow (Roland Park), one of the subjects of a Sports Illustrated feature last week, scored twice, assisted on another goal and provided inspiration and leadership in her final collegiate game.

Top-ranked Trenton State (15-0) captured its second straight Division III title by blasting William Smith 29-11.

Division I final

Princeton 10, Maryland 7

Princeton .. 5 .. 5 .. -- .. 10

Maryland ... 4 .. 3 .. -- ... 7

Division III final

Trenton State 29, William Smith 11

William Smith ... 6 ... 5 .. -- .. 11

Trenton State .. 14 .. 15 .. -- .. 29


A year-by-year breakdown of the women's NCAA Division I tournament championship game:

Year .. Champion ...... Runner-up

1982 .. UMass ......... Trenton St.

1983 .. Delaware ...... Temple

1984 .. Temple ........ Maryland

1985 .. N. Hamp. ...... Maryland

1986 .. Maryland ...... Penn State

1987 .. Penn State .... Temple

1988 .. Temple ........ Penn State

1989 .. Penn State .... Harvard

1990 .. Harvard ....... Maryland

1991 .. Virginia ...... Maryland

1992 .. Maryland ...... Harvard

1993 .. Virginia ...... Princeton

1994 .. Princeton ..... Maryland

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